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One has to assume that when you lose leaders of a team, development has to take a hit.
Last year, we heard that Naughty Dog lost several high-ranking members of the team, including lead writer Amy Hennig. How much of an impact did this have?
Well, according to voice actor Nolan North, speaking during a Metrocon panel, they had already been shooting for 8 months and after Hennig left, it all got wiped away. When The Last Of Us directors Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley took over, they “wanted their own flavor.” Now, however, the tone will undoubtedly be different.
“It has to be, you know. You can’t have a Robert Ludlum novel that’s going to be the same as Stephen King. It’s just that they’re different styles. But it’s true to the story.”
This is probably a big reason why we’re not getting the anticipated PlayStation 4 exclusive this year. But the important thing is to get it right…right?
Related Game(s): Uncharted 4
6/29/2015 10:48:54 AM Ben Dutka
Not every publisher believes in “annualization.”
Take-Two Interactive, for instance, has often spoken out against the practice, and Bethesda isn’t too crazy about it, either.
During a recent Telegraph interview (as cited by GameTral), Bethesda vice president of marketing Pete Hines responded to the possibility of a sequel to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The idea represents something the developers just aren’t interested in:
“It’s rare to have franchises like the ones we have and to have people joking about “when is Skyrim 2 coming out? The reason they say that is because generally speaking that’s what you’d be getting with another publisher in charge. They’d be spitting out a Skyrim 2 the year after or two years later. That’s just not how we view it. We’re not the sort of publisher that focuses on ‘what’s our 25 titles for 2015′.
We do smaller stuff, we don’t publish to scale, we try to publish to quality. Make sure everything we do is noteworthy. Our approach to that hasn’t differed. Here and there we might change our approach to how it’s presented but we’ve still stuck to who we are.”
Make sure you finish reading that second paragraph; it’d be confusing if you stopped at “we do smaller stuff.” Obviously, they produce some seriously huge games in terms of content but that’s not what Hines is talking about here. And we’ve got no interest in anyone “spitting out” a Skyrim 2 just for the heck of it.
And you now, Bethesda and Take-Two’s approach does seem to work best. Wonder of wonders.
Related Game(s): The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
6/28/2015 9:03:55 PM Ben Dutka
Post-E3 and I’m started to see things in a slightly different light. More on that below but first:
You have to applaud Bethesda’s decision to reboot Doom 4
I was disappointed when I learned that Doom 4 had been scrapped, and I was hesitant about the new reboot because I had the sneaking suspicion it would take a very long time. New Doom entries don’t exactly come out every year.
But when I heard the reasons behind the reboot, I was not only cheered, I was also respectful of the decision. Basically, what they’re saying is that Doom 4 was shaping up to be too much like Call of Duty or Battlefield; simply too much like all the other shooters in existence today. On top of which, they acknowledged this shift as a negative thing, as moving away from the core of the franchise. So, they started over to retain that all-important core and make it a Doom game that fans will undoubtedly enjoy and appreciate. I just wonder why more developers can’t take this approach. Isn’t it only logical?
You just have to stand up and applaud when a designer says, “hmm, maybe my shooter shouldn’t play exactly like Call of Duty, especially when I’ve got a franchise people have loved for very different reasons.” That’s why I’m excited for Doom and I hope other teams take a page from the developers’ playbook.
My hopes are high but I still have lots of questions about Horizon: Zero Dawn
The gameplay Guerrilla showed off during Sony’s E3 conference was fantastic and I love the vibe. That being said, I still think we need to see and hear a lot more before we get an accurate picture of what this game will be like.
First, they say it’ll be “‘comparable’ to other open-world games” in terms of size. But you know, that doesn’t tell me much. Because just about every new game these days is open-world, there’s a lot more variety in that particular structure than ever; there’s a big difference between The Witcher 3‘s open world and the one in Batman: Arkham Knight, for example. It all depends on how that world is presented, how we travel through it, how the story is woven in, etc. And how we play these games can be drastically different; you don’t play inFamous: Second Son and Watch Dogs the same way at all, right? So, what to expect in Horizon?
I just hope the mechanics end up matching the incredible technicals. I’ll be very disappointed if the game looks incredible but falls shy on the gameplay side.
Personal gaming update
I’m sort of in open-world overload right now (a position in which I’m afraid I’ll find myself permanently in the future), but it’s hard to complain when the two games are The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and the recently released – and wonderful – Batman: Arkham Knight. I knew the latter would top the former in terms of technical solidarity and reliability, and while I still prefer CD Projekt Red’s RPG (it’s just more my style), Rocksteady are absolute rock-star developers. There’s every chance that Arkham Knight will figure into the end-of-year awards for a lot of leading sources and publications, and that will be well-deserved. I just wish these developers would try something else…
Thankfully, there’s really nothing coming out between now and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain on September 1. At least, nothing I desperately want to play. However, that being said, I will be very interested to check out Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture in August. Looks very promising and cerebral.
One last thing: I’m starting to think we’ll never see that Final Fantasy VII Remake. For a lot of reasons, I have a feeling that announcement was more about PR than anything else; Square Enix has proven that they’re simply one giant mess when it comes to internal development. The Final Fantasy Versus XIII/Final Fantasy XV saga should be proof enough. ‘sigh’
Despite its greatness, let’s presume you’re not interested in Batman: Arkham Knight. Or, if you are, you still need to stock up on games for the summer.
Either way, you should take advantage of this weekend’s Flash Sale on the PlayStation Store.
As you can see, this week’s theme is fantasy games, which means you can get great deals on top titles like Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen for PS3 (only $13.20) and Tales of Xillia 2 ($14). Then there’s Bound by Flame for PS4 and Tales of Hearts R for Vita ($14 each), and super fun family-friendly games like LEGO The Hobbit ($only $10) and Pocket RPG ($5.25). Many of this week’s featured games have lots of content, which should keep you entertained for months.
If you’re going to need some titles as you lie in wait for the jam-packed fall schedule, you should stock up and save some cash.
6/27/2015 9:59:28 AM Ben Dutka